Bruised and battered, Shane Victorino plans to start Game 6

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Shane Victorino’s right hand was bruised and swollen after being plunked by a 93-mph A.J. Burnett fastball in the first inning last night and he played the next seven innings in obvious pain before Ben Francisco finally replaced him.
Victorino was clearly having trouble gripping the bat and making throws from the outfield, constantly grimacing and shaking his hand, but despite how bad the injury looked X-rays on his index finger came back negative and the Phillies’ center fielder plans to start Game 6.
Francisco would likely draw the Game 6 assignment in center field if Victorino ultimately can’t go. He’s a capable hitter, particularly against left-handers like Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, but the defensive dropoff from Victorino to Francisco is huge.
In other words, today’s break in the schedule comes at a good time for the Phillies if it gives Victorino a chance to get reasonably healthy.

The Rays announce “The Rays Tank.” Really.

Tampa Bay Rays
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Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.

If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.

In other news, the Rays announced a new blog:

Oh.